Letter to My Cantankerous Computer: A Response from My Laptop

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Several months ago, I wrote a letter to my laptop. We shared our ten-year anniversary together this year, so the letter was partly loving and appreciative – and partly accusatory. Just like letters between humans.

Today’s Blogging U. assignment was to write a letter to someone/something – to yourself, to another person, even to an object or idea. Because this is something I’ve already done before, I considered just ignoring the prompt, and picking back up with the course tomorrow.

But then… I thought it’d be interesting to put myself in the perspective of my laptop, and write a response to my letter. You know, a response from the laptop.

Was I drinking when I came up with this idea, you ask? Nope, stone-cold sober! Which is probably somehow worse…

Laptop’s response to my letter:

Dear User,

I am glad that you appreciate all the hard work I’ve done for you. Actually, I’m not “glad” because gladness is a human emotion, and as a machine, I am incapable of that. Instead, let’s just say that your letter was processed and received as you intended.

Anyway, I was chagrined (damn it, I did it again) to read your letter about my lengthy list of flaws. Tell me, how would YOU feel if someone did that to you? If they painstakingly detailed all of the things that you don’t do correctly? Because let me tell you, user, you are no perfect being, either. At least I don’t try to convince myself that donuts are a well-balanced breakfast. BURN.

Second of all, where do you get off trying to make me feel guilty for dying those times? I realize that my death put you through a lot of stress, but you’re the one who gave me the viruses in the first place. That’s victim-blaming if I ever heard it.

Also, you do get that I’m old, right? I know that ten in human years is still a child, but in technology years, it’s basically 100. I am an elderly object. A senior machine. You have to expect that I won’t run as smoothly as I did before, and that I’ll require more upkeep.

Clearly, you’re just ageist.

So, yeah, maybe my on-button sometimes falls inside, and my down-arrow key sticks, and sometimes I won’t let you download newfangled programs. I’m even more embarrassed about these things than you are.

Or I would be, if I were capable of complex emotions.

But that part where I make you keep the cord in the exact correct spot? I’m just messing with you. Old people objects have to get their fun somewhere.

Cordially, Sincerely, Love,

-Laptop.

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Letter to My Cantankerous Computer

Dear Laptop,

As we approach our TEN-YEAR anniversary, I’ve been looking back over our time together. We’ve been through so much, haven’t we? High school, college, and grad school assignments, infinite Google searches (which you’ve never judged), and lots of illegal downloads of poor-quality Limewire music. (Sorry about all the viruses.)

You’ve truly done many amazing things for me.

However, there’s a lot wrong with you.

Your battery died a long time ago, and I not only have to keep you plugged in at all times, I also have to keep your cord in the exact correct position. You’re irrationally fussy about that, so I’ve had to TAPE your cord to keep it in place. For the record, that’s not normal. If it’s jostled even the tiniest bit, you instantly shut down.

That is immature, controlling behavior that marriage therapists would call “stonewalling.”

Further, do you know what you’ve put me through each time you’ve randomly shut off? Whenever you did this during my work on research papers, I got pretty angry with you. I considered setting you on fire more than once. When you’d take your precious time turning back on, my anger would turn to anxiety that maybe this was it – maybe you really were dead this time. Anguish would set in. I’d contemplate throwing myself on you and sobbing. And then finally, your screen would glow bright with technological health, and I’d feel a rush of relief.

You manipulative bastard.

Speaking of death, you’ve also completely crashed and died, and then been brought back to life – TWICE. I admit, I wasn’t innocent in that situation – because I didn’t use the right protection, you got some pretty serious viruses. But that was so long ago, and let’s keep in mind that my behavior was accidental. Can you say the same for yours?

Honestly, I’m not sure whether to be pissed at your flair for drama, or impressed by your ability to resurrect.

The most baffling is when you allow your “on” button to fall inside of the computer, and then I have to fish it out with a straightened paper clip. Why do you do this, laptop? Do you realize that this is a quick ticket to electrocution for me? I can’t unplug you during the procedure, because I need the on button to stay lit up so I can find it.

If you ask me, you’re just doing this shit for attention.

My feelings about you have followed the same predictable pattern found in human relationships. I was thrilled when we first met! We were both so young back then, weren’t we? Then after a little time together, once I learned all the great things about you, I was in love. Now, after years of your bad behavior and my shouting obscenities at you, our relationship feels a bit rocky.

But despite the tension, I recognize that you really have done a lot for me. You continue to store every picture I’ve taken and every song I’ve downloaded since I was seventeen. You helped me obsessively scour the Internet for jobs when I finished grad school. You’ve kept me entertained with games like FreeCell and Snake, and you’ve supported me through all that Facebook stalking.

So maybe, just maybe, I can overlook the fact that you won’t let me download the latest version of iTunes. You’re incredibly old (in technology years), and clearly, there are some things you just can’t do anymore.

Others see you, with your taped cord, and fragile “on” button, and they just don’t understand you. They want me to leave you for a newer model. But we’ve been together for 10 years – which, let’s face it, is probably longer than the average REAL marriage. You don’t end a relationship like that without good reason.

No, I could never just leave you, dear laptop.

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Unless your quirks start to outweigh your usefulness – then I probably will.

Sincerely yours,
Amanda